Perdue is suspending one of its grower’s contracts after it learned Tuesday evening that an employee of the farmer in Richmond County, N.C., was arrested on animal abuse charges. The charges stem from an undercover video presented to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office by an attorney representing animal rights organization Mercy for Animals (MFA).
“We have seen the video taken by Mercy for Animals on a farm raising chickens for Perdue. We are appalled by the mistreatment and abuse by a contract catching crew and a farm worker shown in the video,” Perdue said in a statement. “We are committed to working with law enforcement to identify everyone involved and hope the Mercy for Animals will cooperate to facilitate those efforts.”
The company said neither MFA, nor their undercover investigator, informed Perdue of the alleged activity on the farm, which it said must have occurred weeks ago since the flock is no longer on the farm.
The company said it hopes MFA will aid Perdue's investigation by sharing their footage and other evidence with the company.
Additionally, the company said it regularly visits farms and conducts audits, but ultimately has to trust that its independent contract growers and their employees uphold their responsibility to adhere to Perdue's animal care standards.
“We are committed to taking aggressive actions to hold those involved accountable and prevent similar behavior in the future,” the company stated.